Golden Living president answers tough questions about nursing home violations

Golden LivingCenters president Julianne Williams

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The embattled nursing home organization Golden Living held a news conference Tuesday to celebrate a pay increase for its certified nursing assistants and a “renewed focus” on “enhancing the quality of care for residents and patients.”

ABC27 had several questions about that care after several months of uncovering long lists of violations, including recent inspection reports. It took several minutes just to list all the violations.

“I have here several of the Department of Health inspections from three Midstate facilities, just over the last three months,” Reporter Amanda St. Hilaire said. “And they show violations such as “very strong” odors of urine and feces, feces on a shower chair, covering toilet bowls, dirty wheelchairs, staff giving residents higher dosages of medications than prescribed by physicians, a case when a resident’s medication went missing and the incident was not reported to the Department of Health, a resident not receiving hospice care a doctor ordered, not receiving supplements a doctor ordered, failing to conduct neuro checks after resident falls, a facility failing to notify a resident’s wife that he was referred to hospice, so I guess my question for you is, with this ‘renewed focus,’ how do you explain this list of violations at just three Midstate facilities in the last three months?”

Golden LivingCenters president Julianne Williams
Golden LivingCenters president Julianne Williams

After a pause, Golden LivingCenters president Julianne Williams responded.

“Sure, thank you for asking that question,” Williams said. “It’s, the reality is, the skilled nursing facility sector is the second most highly regulated business in the United States. The only type of profession or industry that is more highly regulated is nuclear power.”

ABC27 has not independently verified that statement.

Williams went on to say that violations are quickly fixed.

“The notes on these inspection reports do show that most of these are repeat violations,” St. Hilaire said. “In fact, the two Camp Hill facilities, between the two of them, have at least 16 non-compliant inspection reports over the last two years. So at what point do these stop becoming isolated incidents and start becoming patterns?”

“So, um, I think that if you reviewed the 2567’s you’re looking at, the statements of deficiencies, for all nursing home providers across the United States, you would find that our very stringent inspection process, which we welcome, helps us identify opportunities for improvement,” Williams said. “And that’s what those are. And we take them very seriously, and we correct them, and we are then deemed back in status by the Department of Health. It’s a process of continuous improvement. So while nothing is ever perfect, we always strive to do the very best work for our residents every day.”

“Would you classify an odor of urine and feces as an area of improvement?” St. Hilaire asked.

“To not get into how everything works in a nursing home, I will say this,” Williams said. “We’re all humans and we all have personal things that occur during the day, just like in your home. If someone goes into the restroom and uses the bathroom for a few minutes, there might be an odor and then in time it passes and then it wasn’t there.”

“Are you saying these lists of violations are comparable to other nursing home facilities in the area?” St. Hilaire asked.

“I can tell you have a lot of questions,” Williams answered. “Rather than addressing this in a press conference, I would love to sit down with you on a one-on-one basis.”

St. Hilaire told Williams she would love to take her up on that offer.

To watch raw video of that exchange, click here.

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